Pochin emboldened by RBS refinance

Cheshire-based developer and contractor Pochin reported a loss of £3.3m in the year to the end of May 2012.

The loss was almost identical to last year, £3.4m. Pochin said £2.0m came from discontinued activities, compared to £4.4m in 2011. There was an operating profit on continuing activities of £1.7m (2011: £4.5m) before "adverse property revaluations and impairments of investments and inventories, which in total amounted to £2.9m". There will be no final dividend to shareholders.

Richard Fildes, chairman, said: "In my statement a year ago, I referred to two key steps which were prerequisites for restoring the group's fortunes. First, there was the implementation of the board's decision to dispose of the concrete pumping division. This took longer than the board intended, and the division remained part of the group for the whole of the year under review but, as has been separately reported, the disposal was finally achieved with the sale of Pochin Concrete Pumping Limited to Alcedo Limited, announced on 31 July 2012. The business continues under new ownership and it is appropriate to thank the 108 employees, transferred with it, for their forbearance over a long period of uncertainty.

"The second key step was the settling of the group's liabilities arising out of the Liverpool office joint ventures. This was achieved in September 2011. There has been a need for impairments in other joint venture investments in the year to 31 May 2012, but the settlement of the Liverpool exposure represented an important turning point for the group.

"Looking forward, the group now consists of two core divisions, namely construction and property development and investment."

Fildes went on to say he was more hopeful for construction but the development and investment side faced further pain due to "subdued market conditions".

An extension of the group's banking facilities have been agreed with the Royal Bank of Scotland, Pochin's principal bankers for many years.

He concluded: "Given the ongoing strong client relationships together with the renewed banking arrangements, and provided that there is no further decline in the market in which it operates, the group looks forward to being able to repay the loyalty of both employees and shareholders, which is greatly appreciated."

Shares in Pochin fell 2p to 23p.

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